Apple Planning Beats-Branded Cheaper Smart Speaker; Apple Glasses Delayed to 2021: Reports

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Apple is reportedly planning a cheaper version of its Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker, though it will be under the Beats brand. Just months after the official launch of HomePod at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,800), it was rumoured that Apple is set to bring a cheaper version, but it is the first time that it is reported to come with the Beats brand. The latest report says that the Cupertino giant is having talks with MediaTek about manufacturing a new model that would cost $199 (roughly Rs. 13,600) when it goes on sale. Separately, another new report estimates that Apple’s first Glasses will arrive in late 2021, about a year later than expected.

The latest rumour about a cheaper smart speaker from Apple comes just a month after it was reported that the company had lowered sales forecasts and cut orders for the HomePod smart speaker due to its slow market performance. According to a new report in Loveios, out of Apple’s supply chain via Sina, the company is said to be planning a $199 HomePod under its Beats brand and in talks with MediaTek for the cheaper HomePod device, which when compared is significantly less than the price tag the HomePod carries.

Notably, Apple owns Beats and its audio technologies since 2014, so it isn’t a surprising move. Additionally, with the higher price tag, it could get increasingly tough for Apple to compete against Amazon and Google, whose smart speakers’ prices start at a much lower value. However, since there is no official information from the company, the report should be taken with a grain of salt. It is possible that Apple may unveil a Beats-branded AirPlay 2 speaker, rather than a cheaper smart speaker.

Coming to the Apple Glasses, Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster expects the wearable to be available in the market a year later than he originally expected, that is 2020. Munster says that Apple Glasses will be released in December 2021. He claims that after meeting with AR experts, Apple Glasses appear to still be far from being ready for prime time. This is in line with what Apple CEO Tim Cook had said last October when he stated that the technology for AR glasses is not mature.

Munster also says, “We believe AR is real and Apple will be a beneficiary. We expect Apple’s AR theme to play out in three phases. First, this fall we expect 2 to 3 new iPhones to join iPhone X with advanced optics for AR (VCSEL arrays). Second, AR apps built using ARKit will slowly become the next gold rush for developers, led by games, e-commerce, and education.” His note also claims that overall, Apple Watch, AirPods, and Glasses will generate some $71 billion in the fiscal year 2023, compared to $12 billion in 2018.

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